Monday, June 26, 2017

No AC!

Soooo...our AC broke...and since we are now proud home owners we get to deal with it all by ourselves...yay.  This wouldn't be to bad as a) I really like the windows open and b)  I pay the electric bill, but it's been in the upper 90's plus humidity. Normally I would just run away to the fire station...but the AC is out in the bunk rooms.
Melting Book
Just how hot is it?  Well everything is melting...especially me!  Plus side is that reading does not require a whole lot of energy (technically neither does studying...but who wants to do that) so if you need me I will be stuck to my couch with a pile of books and ice...or at the bookstore...cause you know...AC.   Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Graphic Novels Are Books Too!

Hola Readers.  There has been a debate raging through my firehouse book club on whether or not graphic novels count as books.  For the record I totally think they count...and since it's my blog I'm right.  I love graphic novels for several reasons.
1. They make me feel accomplished 'cause I can usually knock at least one out in a single sitting.

2.  The different format makes for some very cool world building and story telling in a completely different way then a traditional book.

3.  Most graphic novels tend to be a collaboration among various authors and artists which in a good graphic novel means a sum that is greater then its parts.

4.  I like the pretty pictures.
So yeah...definitely think graphic novels are legit books folks. Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Book Beyond Imagination

Hola Readers!  Who's ready for another rambling?  I am YAY!  Today let's ramble about...The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers.  It is part of his Zamonia series but can be read as a stand alone like I did.  I think this one was recommended to me by my baby sis...which is always a good thing.  Let me tell you people this book hit all my literary emotions.  It was not at all what I expected in a very very very good way. What the heck do I mean?  I'll tell you, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First of all, let me just warn you that I am not going to be able to get a billionth of this book into the synopsis 'cause every page, every word is dripping with meaning and story and well...yeah.  So instead I'm gonna try and just give you enough of an outline to not be too lost, but seriously you just should go read it. Our story is narrated by Optimus Yarnspinner, a Lindworm (a being that resembles a dinosaur) from the fabled Lindworm Castle, home to many a worthy author.  Optimus has just lost his authorial godfather Dancealot and has set out on a quest to find the author of a fantastic manuscript left to him.  This manuscript has the ability to run the reader through every emotion known to living beings and yet it has not been published.  To find this mysterious author, Optimus heads to Bookholm which is essentially a city devoted to all things books.  It is filled with book sellers, book binders, book publishers, cafe's with book themes, literary music, ink, pens whatever you can possibly relate to books you will find in Bookholm (kind of like my blog lol).  Upon arrival Optimus is thrust into an adventure that any book hero would envy.  He starts by showing his book to a couple of very interesting book vendors in the hope that they will recognize it.  This leads him to various other places and to aquiring the book The Catacombs of Bookholm by the famous Book Hunter Colophonius Regenschein and we as the readers learn along with Optimus all about the catacombs of Bookholm.  Optimus is finally directed to Pfistomel Smyke a collector of the rare book brought up from the catacombs and also a kind of literary scientist.  He turns out to be one nasty dude and after reading the manuscript reveals his nefarious plan to Optimus.  Smyke's whole goal in life is to essentially turn all art mediocre, to eliminate any greatness and essentially control everything.  To this end he drugs Optimus and traps him in the catacombs beneath Bookholm...and this is where his adventure really starts.  Optimus uses the knowledge he aquired to try and traverse the catacombs, but disaster keeps befalling him.  After several misadventures he is rescued by the not so malicious
Booklings, who despite their fearsome reputation, choose to care for Optimus.  They show Optimus many of the safer wonders of the catacombs and inspire him with their dedication to memorizing all the works of all the authors.  Tragedy strikes when an unusual alliance of Book Hunters finds the Booklings Grotto and destroy it along with killing many of the Booklings.  Optimus is shoved into a bookshelf contraption and sent spinning through the catacombs to more adventures.  He eventually ends up in the Hall of the Shadow King, a mysterious character that plays a part in almost all the scary tales of the Underworld of Bookholm.  After even more adventures (are you sensing a theme here?) we finally get the Shadow Kings story.  Turns out that he is the author of the fantastic manuscript, but that it was also his downfall.  The Shadow King started out life as a human who had the misfortune of running into Smyke, who of course could not stand the idea of such great art outside of his control.  Smyke then used many arcane techniques and wondrous supplies to turn the human into what is now the Shadow King.  He was made to be pretty much immortal, strong, smart, literary and unable to ever enter sun or moon light on the dire consequence of bursting into flame.  More conversation and writing and adventuring and book stuff and Optimus and the Shadow King decide to go back up to the surface regardless of the consequences.  They face down a hoard of Book Hunters, discover a confession and will and finally confront Smyke.  The Shadow King allows himself to catch on fire, burning down a good portion of Bookhom and Optimus escapes, inspired finally to write his first masterpiece.  This does not even BEGIN to remotely tell the rich and full story of this insanely wonderful world...but then short of reading the book, I don' think anybody could do it justice.
World Building - This book is set in the fictional world of Zamonia...which I cannot wait to read more of!  We got to visit Bookholm and the insane amount of detail was just fantastic!  I felt like I could find myself in any section of this city and know exactly where I am.  It felt whole and complete and layered.  There were customs, cultures, rules, consequences, legends, language, all in abundant variety.  There were notes that added to the depth of this world and for having so much shoved into one book, the world was not confusing in the least. I loved the little touches, like the cafe's with the literary inspired treats, or the various parts of the city dedicated to different area's of the book process.  It was just so full in a good way, it felt almost endless, like there was always another nook or crany or passageway to explore, new treasures to find, so cool.   Again this is just one part of whole world and this one book has made me very eager to explore the rest of it...such amazing world building.

Story - The story was whole and complete.  It had a beginning, middle and end.  It was in some ways your typical adventure story, but more along the lines of an epic saga like Beowulf with many small adventures, meetings and incidents adding to the whole adventure.  The story had a fairly classic structure with a lot of original ideas, giving the reader the comfort of structure and the thrill of discovery, very cool story.

Character - Variety is the word I think best describes the characters in this book.  In this book we see so many species (Lindworms, Booklings, Uggly's, Spinxxx and so many many many more), characters from different backgrounds, classes, shapes, sizes, needs, modes.  Again you would think that this would detract from actual character development, but I found that the characters that mattered where very fully formed and all the other characters added some delicious flavor.  Yay characters.

Editing - I'm shocked at how well this book is edited.  Again (are we getting sick of me saying this yet?)  it is just stuffed full of so many things that it should feel cluttered or choppy or overly long...but...it doesn't.  I found myself reading every single word, trying to absorb as much of the literary goodness that I could.  It was a page turner and I had very few complaints about the pacing.  Not sure how this happened, if the author is just that amazing, or his relationship with his editor is that good or some combination, but epic editing.

Book Lovers Dream - This book was written for lovers of the written word.  The language, the setting, the story, everything about it seems tailored to bibliophiles.  I seriously want to go wander into one of the bookshops and get me a stack of books, curl up in a cafe with a cup of Midnight Oil Espresso and a Book pastry and read my brains out.  The amount of literariness that has been poured into the book makes me feel like the author loves books and all things literary as much as I do.  It is finally a book about books that doesn't drive me nuts.  It is not just about reading books either, it is about how they are written, how they are published, the materials, the variety and the idea that there are types of books we can only imagine out there somewhere if we can just look hard enough.

Wordplay - If forced to choose a favorite component about this book, I would say it is the language.  The author uses a MASSIVE variety of words....and if there was no human word that was sufficient, he made one up and attributed it to one of his zillions of non human races.  On top of that the author would constantly list numerous books and their authors...I kept waiting for this to get annoying...but somehow it worked perfectly with the story.  To make it even better, he cleverly disguised some famous authors by anagraming their names.  For example:  Selwi Rollcar = Lewis Carroll, Aliesha Wimperslake = William Shakespeare, so very cool.  I love words, and when an author uses them correctly it just makes my little literary heart go pitter patter.

Not What I Thought - So to be honest I wasn't 100% sure what I was getting into when I started this book.  From the description and the titles of the authors other books in the series I thought it might be a kids book.  Then the illustrations and mostly almost silly animalistic characteristics of most of the characters led to me thinking it might be a light hearted tale....Nope.  This is definitely a book for at the very least older kids.  There is violence (so much violence), betrayal, complex ideas...not a book for 7 year old.  It was great though and the juxtaposition (sorry this book makes me pull out my big girl words) of the simple illustrations, the fun characters and the adult writing were very original and a great read.

Overall Impression - Ok, so I don't think I have been able to impart even a tenth of what I want to about this book.  In the end all I can say is that it is an experience, and one I think anybody who loves books should have.  I give this book 9 out of 10 Animatomes and really encourage every book reader to pick it up....even if it's just to figure out what the heck I'm talking about.  Happy Reading Everybody!!! 


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Big Screen Bite

Hola Readers.  Hubbin is a huge zombie fan...me...I find they all end up being the same thing.  That being said, on occasion somebody will come up with a way to refresh the genre...usually in book
form.  This winter I read The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, my thoughts on which you can read here.  I mentioned that there was a movie and I was interested in this one in particular 'cause the author of the book wrote the screenplay simultaneously.  He stated that he made the screenplay purposely a bit different from the book to better fit the big screen format.  I was curious how this would turn out so on our last movie night we watched the film version.  For the most part I had almost the exact same feelings about the movie as I did the book.  The casting was pretty spot on, the world felt like a post apocalyptic zombie world, the story followed the book for pretty much everything...it was ok.  I felt that the world was better portrayed in the book, but the little actress that played Melanie really brought it.  I also felt that they could have done a better job advertising in the " hey this isn't really a movie for kids 'cause for real there is a whole lot of adult content in this movie" category.  Overall I felt that the movie really did not bring any of the uniqueness of the book...but still had some of the same pacing problems.  In the end I felt that neither was wholly original, neither was really bad, they were both interesting on certain points...but in the end as almost always, I liked the book better.  That being said, if you have read the book, go ahead and watch the movie 'cause there are some really cool parts.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cool Writing Desk And It's All Mine

With school, work and writing I desperately needed a space to keep all my various laptops, tablets, books and other paraphernalia.  So here it is.


It's already mess, but it is being used a lot...in fact I'm using it right now to write this post lol.  The only down side is that it is in my book nook so I am constantly being tempted to go grab a book and read instead of study or work...lol  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Firebird Once More

Hi Readers, here I am with promised rambling.  I'm excited to finally get back to it!!!!!   Ok so today let's ramble about Firebirds Soaring edited by Sharyn November, the last in the trilogy of Firebird short story collections.  As with the previous two installations, this book contains a wide variety of short stories in what we now call speculative fiction...which is essentially an encompassing genre that includes all manner of sci fi, fantasy and all the wonderful gray areas in between.  Here are a couple...well more then a couple of my favorites in this collection.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Kingmaker by Nancy Springer - This opening short story shows us a young woman who is desperate to keep a potentially bad ruler off the throne.  She stumbles upon an object that will not only allow her to keep said baddie away, but potentially rule the world herself.  She realizes this is not the way and takes the hard route instead.  A lot of story is packed in these few pages but it feels complete...like and old school tale you tell the young warriors around the camp fire.

Egg Magic by Louise Marley - I always love a magic story that involves either everyday items or everyday jobs.  This story hits the spot telling us about a girl, her hens, their sometimes magic eggs, a wild magic mother and the need to figure out how to fit in with a life not of her choosing.  I really like the mix of domesticness and magic in this story.

Flatland by Kara Dalkey - Set in the future, kids/teenagers are recruited right out of school by huge companies to essentially live/eat/sleep/breath work.  These kids get paid, room and board and access to all kinds of services in return for almost around the clock computer work.  Our girl is essentially told to go on vacation, here through various means she realizes how much she misses actually having a life, breathing fresh air and just having time to herself.  This is a very for the moment story that explores the new way people work, having the means to always be connected to work is not always the best thing.

Ferryman by Margo Lanagan - The tale is short, sad yet awesome.  We get to see the daily life of Charon as his wife and daughter make him lunch, bring it to him, almost making the ferryman of the dead a regular working stiff...until he falls into the river and becomes a real stiff.  Although very sad...I don't know...I really really liked this story.

The Ghosts of Strangers by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - This is more of a novella then a short story, but it was epic.  In this world the people of the village have a deal with the dragons.  We learn that when the human bond mate of a dragon dies, he/she has the option of being fed to their dragon and become part of the dragon.  We follow our heroin as she has a special gift of being able to see and capture ghosts which she then feeds the dragons.  Awesome story and now I want to see if it ever got expanded to novel form.

Three Twilight Tales by Jo Walton - Not a lot to say about these other then they read as pure magic.  To me this type of dream land story telling is exactly what the short story format is all about.  There are three tales all interwoven and beautiful and just wonderful.

The Dignity He's Due by Carol Emshwiller - A mom, her daughter and her son wander through out the state, never settling down.  Mom is convinced that her son is really a long lost Prince and treats him accordingly.  Sister is just trying to make some sort of life for them.  This story really gets to me as it shows us how easily the line between reality and fantasy can be blurred.  It also shows us the importance of family and how anybody can be their for anybody else.

I'm kind of sad that this series is over.  I have found many many many new stories, authors and books from these three collections.  However I am glad to have had the chance to discover and read all these gems.  I recommend this collection to anybody who likes a good story and I give it 8 out of 10 kitsune.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Did Ya Miss Me?

Hola Readers...I'm back...FINALLY!   I just ended my job with my sweet monsters and while I will horribly miss my amazing time with them...I will not miss the 10 hour days with a two hour
commute.  I have very much missed you guys, I love writing this blog...even if it is just for myself so I am totally excited to get back into it. I am still working my other job(s) and am in Paramedic school so still racking up the hours so this will still have to be a 2-3 times a week blog. Oh also I got a new key board so I am able to type more then 2 words a minute THANKS HUBBIN!   Ok gotta get some sleep and study, but stay tuned in the next day or two for some epic ramblings and some literary awesomeness that has been swirling through my brain.  I'm so so so so so so excited to get back to it!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hiatus...Sniff

Hola Readers!  I have come to a yucky decision.  At the moment I am working three full time jobs,
volunteering and started school full time.   As you can probably imagine, this does not leave a whole lot of time for reading, much less blogging.  Luckily one of my jobs (the one with the most onerous schedule) ends in June, freeing me up to resume my reading and blogging.  So pretty much what I am saying is I probably won't be writing much until then.  I am sad 'cause this is one of my only creative outlets, which is why I'm gonna start right back up in June.  Hope to see you then.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Crazy Reader

So this is how life is right now
So...yeah.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Gulp!

Hi All!  So...I just finished signing up for my Paramedic classes...so my already crazy life is about to
get crazier.  This means my already spotty posting is about to get even spottier.  I considered shutting it down because I hate not being able to regularly post...but even if it is intermittent, this blog really helps me focus and calm down.  It fulfills my creative side and makes my reading even more enjoyable.  So I will continue to write when I can, just will probably only be once or twice a week most of the time.  Hopefully I can sneak in a bit extra here and there.  On an unrelated note I spilled more stuff on my keyboard and my B and N keys are super not working so blech.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Game Of Thrones In Space

Hola Readers, how are you all doing today?  I got a couple fabulous days off that were much needed and were used to my literary advantage...but more on that later.  One of the things I got finished was Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, the second book in the Expanse series.  I loved the first one and was leery and excited to read the second one as more then once a series has disappointed in it's follow up.  Lucky for me I loved this book as much as the first one.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
At the end of the last book we left the crew of the Rocinante putting themselves back together after helping Detective Miller plunge the protomolecule ridden space station Eros into Venus.  If this doesn't make any sense...go read the book lol.  Anyways Holden and his crew are running around doing errands for Fred Johnson, the de facto leader of the OPA when they stumble across the aftermath of Ganymede.  Ganymede is a moon that has become the main food growing space for the Belt and it was attacked by an unknown monster like entity.  The attack wiped out all of the Earth and Mars marines stationed on the base except for one, our girl Bobbie.  The attack led to the very tense Earth and Mars factions shooting at each other and chaos reigns.  The ensuing violence pretty much decimates that Ganymede station and we meet Prax, a botanist who lives with his young daughter on the base.  Prax discovers his daughter is missing and kind of goes on a bit of a bender in his search for her.  Meanwhile back on Earth Chrisjen Avasarala, the under-secretary representing Earth in the UN is desperately trying to stay in the loop and maintain what peace she can between Earth, Mars and the OPA.  This is further complicated by people both above and below her pushing their own agendas.  Avasarala is particularly interested in keeping an eye on Venus and the energy spikes that seem to correlate with the monster attack.  Bobbie the Martian Marine is brought to the UN as the only survivor to show the video of the monster. Avasarala feels that there is more going on then meets the eye and hires Bobbie to work with her to find out what it is.  Back on Ganymede Holden and crew run into Prax and agree to help him find his daughter.  Their search leads to a hidden lab where Holden...who has had a much closer encounter with the protomolecule then anybody ever needs, realizes what it is they are seeing.  He get's everybody back to the ship and the heck out of dodge.  They fly back to Fred Johnson, where after a tiff, Holden and crew are once again free to take on any contract they want.  They set up a fund to find Mei, Prax's daughter and off they go.  Avasarala after some stuff realizes that one of the Generals is behind the whole "protomolecule as a weapon" thing and that he is trying to instigate a war.  She continues to play the political game, ending up with Bobbie out in space on a slow ship to Ganymede.  She contacts Holden and makes him an offer he can't refuse.  After they all get together on the Rocinante, Holden and his crew (Naomi, Alex and Amos...who are now equal owners of the ship and its profits), Avasarala, Bobbie and Prax pool their information and come to a horrifying realization.  Prax's daughter, along with many other children who have also gone missing, all had a very specific immuno disorder.  This disorder made it possible for them to infect the children with the protomolecule in an attempt to make a controllable weapon.  The problem with this is that they were never really controllable and one got loose and caused all the events from Ganymede and forward to occur.  We also get more info on Jules Mao...the father of Julie Mao from the last book.  We discover that his wealth and company are a huge part of what has made this atrocity possible.  Of course the biggest concern is if one of these monsters makes it anywhere where there is human in habitation...cause you know...it turns everybody into vomit zombies (still one of my favorite phrases).  Our people discover that lab base and fly there post haste.  After some political manuvering and a bit of threatening the crew make it.  They split up to accomplish various tasks and finally make it back to the Rocinante alive and with Mei and some of the other children.  Everybody goes to Luna to celebrate and reconnect with what family they have left.  Unfortunately the celebration is cut short when the news comes that Venus has spun off a comet size blast of protomolecule headed who knows where...and thus ends this second book.  Obviously there is a ton more as usual to this complex yet highly readable book, but as usual this is about the gist of it.
World Building - The series continues to build upon the last book.  This time however we get to visit some new places, namely Earth, Ganymede and plenty of various ships.  All of the careful world building and science of the last book were carried on in this book, making it a world that was easy to jump right back into.  I especially appreciate the little daily details that the authors pop in to remind us of the various environments our characters find themselves in, especially the different gravity types.  I really felt like I was hopping right back into a complete world.  Great job guys.

Story - I felt that this story really built on the completeness and simplicity (yet in a complete contradiction the complexness) of the first book.  I felt like the first story set us up to read through this story with complete understanding.  This story, with it's personal bits with Prax and his daughter, the larger political landscape and the even larger ancient alien threat to humanity all tied together in a whole that left me feeling satisfied while still wanting to hurry up and read the next story.  This is the kind of serial reading I like, where the story is not repetitive with the same formula over and over.  They are original stories that when all read together make an even longer overall story...very saga like.

Character -  We add a couple of new characters in this installment and I love each and every one of them.  In some ways, each character is a bit of an extreme version of a certain personality...on the other hand, each character also has various layers and motivations, making the more outlandish components of their persona's make sense.  I love the naturalness of the characters interactions with each other and how each one seemed authentic and genuine.  I also appreciated how the characters we already knew developed in a believable way considering the insane events of the first book.  Awesome characters.

Editing - The editing of this series is becoming on of my favorite aspects of these books.  These complex ideas, twisted politics, various characters and multiple places could very quickly become confusing, but between the authors and editors it is insanely readable.  Part of the ease of reading is that they use a trick that helps the Game of Thrones Series (hence the title...along with it is pretty much a similar feel...just in space...)which is each chapter belongs to a specific character and is labeled as such.  This takes the big crazy and funnels it through a single viewpoint...but more on that later.

Viewpoints - The first book in this series worked because we saw all the complexity funneled through two very distinct and two very different view points.  This book builds on what we learned in the first book and kicks it up a notch with FOUR viewpoints.  I like the characters they choose as they come from different places (Mars, Earth, Belt and Holden representing a kind of every man).  They are different personalities, different professions, different socio-economic classes...essentially every issue is shown to us from a sampling of who might be affected.  This expanded version of what we started with further enriches the world and story, yet still makes me feel like the book is readable without being overly bogged down.  I also feel like I am getting a mostly diverse view of events, not all one sided, no one planet or area is right, no one view is entirely correct...it's pretty open ended without being ambiguous...if that makes sense.

Micro to Macro - When a series is set in such an epic setting, I like it when they can focus on multiple layers, and this book does it beautifully.  I mentioned it before, but I like how we have the personal story of Prax and his daughter Mei, it puts an individual face on the impact of these vast and broad happenings.  I think even in real life we get so used to hearing these epic horror stories that we forget that individual suffer horribly because of these events.  We then expand to the politicol/soci-economic problems of Earth, Mars and the OPA.  This is a bigger issue, affecting more people and requiring a bigger and more complex solution, while still depending on the whims of individuals and their own prides and prejudices (see what I did their Austen fans?).  Then we expand into a universal concern as the protomolecule threatens EVERYBODY, doesn't matter where you were born, or where you work, or even how much money you have...this requires people to put aside individual concerns, patriotic alliances and work together in an unprecedented way to save humanity.  The various levels give the reader both somebody to root for and an epic horror to root against.

Names - Something I have noticed and loved as a bibliophile is the abundance of literary and historical references scattered through out the books.  In this book even the title has a Shakespearean origin.  Caliban is the twisted son of a witch who is a slave to the main character Prospero of the Tempest, until he throws off his shackles to disastrous effect.  This is paralleled in our book by the protomolecule/human hybrid monsters breaking the human constraints.  The names of the ships are especially fun to look up.  The Rocinante is named after the horse in Don Quixote.  The Barbapiccola is named after a philosopher and poet.  The Somnambulist is a pretty awesome word for sleepwalking and the Guanshiyin is a Hindu Goddess.  Pretty much anything with a name has some sort of cool story attached to it...jut another layer of awesome.

Overall - I am so excited that this second installment lived up to my love of the first book.  This is not always the case and I now have super high hopes for the next book.  I have been putting these books on my phone 'cause they are super easy to read a couple of pages inbetween calls and dealing with the monsters so they have been my go to books lately.  I give this book 8 out of 10 bulbs of coffee and am totally stoked to catch up on the tv show AND read the next book.  I recommend it to anybody who wants a solid scifi story, misses game of thrones and doesn't mind vomit zombies instead of white walkers or who read the first book and loved it.  Happy Reading Everybody!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Sleeping And Dreaming

Sooooo incredibly tired...just need to close my eyes for a bit.
I'll see you all later.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

FriendsThat Are Family

Ok, so these last couple weeks have been super rough and to be honest it is probably not gonna improve for at least a couple weeks more.  That being said I have this amazing group of friends that have become my family.  After coming home from work and sobbing and blubbering to Hubbin (who was f*%#ing amazing by the way) I immediately contacted my friends...who in all honesty are not my friends, they are my family and boy did they come through and help pull me out of my funk.  Being of the literary minded I was eventually led to think of all of the awesome friendships in my beloved books (who also work as friends and family lol).  Here are some friendships that I feel bring the vibe that I have with my peeps.

Samwise Gamgeee - After mentioning this one to Hubbin, he made the point that I really did not need to look any further, and he is probably right.  Sam from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, embodies true friendship to the point of family.  He takes his duties as Frodo's best friend very seriously. He keeps Frodo fed, clothed and in all honesty grounded in reality.  I still maintain without Sam, Frodo would have perished...or at least given up very early on.  This guy embodies everything one looks for in a true best friend.  Loyalty, helpfulness, intelligence, resourcefulness...seriously this guy is the ultimate best friend!

Jill and Eustace - At the outset this mismatched pair from C.S. Lewis Silver Chair don't seem like friends at all.  Over the course of the book however the two learn to not only work together, but to trust each other in a way that ensures an enduring life long friendship.  This friendship is proven in later books as the pair are brought back the to magical world of Narnia once again to help it.  This is a case of circumstances leading to the choice of becoming mortal enemies or best of friends and these two decide on the bond of friendship, much to their mutual benefit.

A Through L - After being brought to a world of pure awesomeness, our favorite heroine, September meets up with the wavery A-L and forms a lifelong friendship that can never end.  Through out the series we see just how tight these two are and just how valuable the friendship is.  This is a case of truly mutual beneficial a friendship can be, as both parties rely on each other, help each other, depend on each other and come through for each other no matter the situation.  Even though both parties meet other entities the truest friendship is with each other and that is awesome.

Piemur - This lovable scamp is the friend that all of need.  When Menolly arrives friendless, familyless and pretty much nothingless (that's a word right?), this guy steps right in.  Through his cleverness and ability to manipulate almost anybody, Piemur helps Menolly go from a friendless oddity to one of the most valued members of Harper Hall.  This friendship continues as both parties grow older.  This is a friendship that is shared until death, this is a friendship that causes children to call them auntie and uncle, this is a friendship that can never end as it is so tight that the bonds of family and friend are irrevocably blurred.

The Hogwarts Trinity - We can't really mention bestest friends without mentioning Harry, Ron and Hermione.  This trio's ability to maintain the tightest of friendships regardless of insane circumstances is utterly amazing.  I kind of feel like my firehouse family has a bond like this...given a bit expanded as there are more then 3, but still a super tight bond that is able to endure hardships, squabbles, boy/girl troubles and pretty much anything else life has to throw at us.  The author imagines this trio enduring well into adulthood and beyond and to be honest my boys and girls are there for me in the same way.  It is nice to know that friendships like this are real.

Ok, I'm done gushing now, but seriously I feel that friendship is very important, in both a real and literary sense.  I am always rooting for the friends, I always want the friendship to endure and a large part of this is my amazing luck at having people like this in my own life.  My boys and girls who get me through this sh*t...you know who your are ( I know at least two of you read this on at least a semi-regular basis lol).  I love you all so very much and am glad to have these legendary friends in my life.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Know Your Own Happiness"

Finally finished my first Jane Austen book of the great reread!  It took me a while mostly 'cause the weather was being dumb and when the weather would cooperate I was on an ambulance keeping people alive.  Anyways a couple of nice days with some free time and I've finished Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.  Are we ready for my thoughts on this first novel by our famous lady?  But first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
I'm not gonna go into a ton of detail as full on synopsis are available in a zillion places, but here is the bare bones gist.  Our story centers on the Dashwood women.  We have Mrs. Dashwood, the widowed second wife of a gentleman.  She has three daughters, the sensible Elinor, the passionate Marianne and the young Margaret.  Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters must find a new living under diminished means after the late Mr. Dashwoods son from his first marriage inherits almost all of his assets.  The ladies are fortunate enough to be offered a cottage by a distant relation, Sir John Middleton and his wife.  Though much less the they are used to, the women find a way to get comfortable.  Elinor is stoically nursing a secret attachment to her brother's wife's brother...that makes sense right?  Anyways the gentleman in question is Edward Ferrars, who is even more stoic and controlled then Elinor.  Unfortunately for our stalwart couple, his mother and sister are set against any marriage that does not improve the family fortune.  The family is continually invited to the main house of the Middleton's where they make the acquaintance of Colonel Brandon, a man out of his 20's who very much admires Marianne and her free spirit.  She of course being young and wild does not consider the man a true prospect.  While out exploring her new surroundings, Marianne falls and injures her ankle and is rescued by the dashing young Willoughby.  With what feels to Elinor a lack of propriety the pair begin a very obvious flirtation, spending as much time together as humanly possible.  One day at a party headed by Colonel Brandon, he is suddenly called away on urgent business.  Elinore learns from the effusive Mrs. Jennings (Sir John's mother-in-law) that the Colonel has a tragic past that involved a young free spirited girl that he was not allowed to marry, leading to the young woman landing in very dire straights.  Not much later Willoughby with an apparent sudden change of heart bids farewll to the Dashwoods in a very abrupt and painful manner, leaving Marianne a not so happy creature.  Meanwhile two young lady's by the name of Ann and Lucy Steele have taken up residence with Sir John and his family.  Elinor is taken into the confidence of Lucy and is informed that Lucy has been engaged to Edward for several years.  The engagement has been kept a secret as his mother would not be pleased to see her eldest son wed to such a low person.  Marianne and Elinor are invited to London by Mrs. Jennings and they agree to go.  Upon arrival Marianne promptly does her best to get in touch with Willoughby to no avail.  The Steeles also arrive to plague Elinor with Lucy's continual talk of her engagement.  Marianne eventually gets to see Willoughby, but he is very cold and very formal with her.  This is followed by a letter letting her know in no uncertain terms that there is nothing between them.  Marianne is devastated and succumbs to a crippling emotional melancholy.  Colonel Brandon arrives soon after to tell Elinor that the reason he and Willoughby left was because Willoughby and seduced, impregnated and then abandoned Colonel Brandon's ward.  After much back and forth, it finally comes out to Edward's mother and sister of his engagement to Lucy...and it does not go well.  He is essentially disinherited in favor of his younger brother, but Edward shows his true colors by refusing to break of he engament just for the sake of money (good job Edward).  Elinor is resigned that he should follow his honor instead of his heart and prepares herself to live with the idea of him married to Lucy.  The Dashwood sisters start their journey home, but are stalled when Marianne falls very ill.  She is tended by Elinor, Colonel Brandon and eventually her mother. At some point Willoughby comes to seek if not forgiveness, then at least understanding.  Mariann starts to recover and they head home with Mariann being clamer and wiser for her illness.  Upon arrival they are greeted with the news of Lucy becoming Mrs. Ferrars.  Everybody believes that Edward and Lucy married...until Edward shows up to refute that idea.  Apparently after shifting the inheritance to Edward's brother, Lucy found she preferred him and left Edward.  This has the happy consequence of allowing Edward to follow his heart to Elinor, who agree's to be his wife.  They soon marry.  Marianne eventually grows to love the Colonel who has stayed by her through thick and thin and also finds happiness.  Everybody gets what they deserve, learn to be better people and live mostly happily ever after.

World Building - Set in the late 1700's in various parts of England, this at the time could be considered contemporary.  Of course we all now think of it as historical fiction...but yeah.  Anyways, the author does a good job of setting the various scene's, making us feel like we are in the various locations and really really making me want to visit 18th century England.  I always feel like I could walk the streets or parks or paths of whatever place the characters happen to be.  One of my favorite things about this author.  In this book in particular I am always enamored with Barton Cottage and the surrounding areas.

Story - With the exception of a few overly convenient plot points, the story is very well done.  We have the weaving of several story lines, a bunch of characters and a setting the brings everything together in a fairly believable fashion.  This is one of the more full on romantic of this authors novels, focusing mostly on the love lives of the main characters, but so many other things are also taken into consideration.  The ability of the author to balance romance, everyday living, practicality, humor, pathos and every other literary thing is pretty awesome.  It is even cooler when I remember that this was at the time a contemporary novel so it was written for the time, and yet still resonates now.

Character - The varied and complex characters are for me what really make a Jane Austen novel.  She has the ability to create characters that at first glance seem to be stock or even extreme, but as the novel goes on we notice nuance and growth for almost every single character.  Take the two main characters for example.  Elinor is portrayed as stoic and sensible.  This is mostly a good thing, but we see where her inability to share her feelings with the people she loves leads to miscommunication.  Marianne on the other hand is overly emotional leading people to try and calm her or tame her, yet at the same time she is shown to be able to truly enjoy life in a way most people can't.  We see Mrs. Jennings as portrayed to be a well-meaning gossip, yet by the end of the book both Elinor and Marianne see that she acts with genuine love and care.  I LOVE that everybody has a motive, arc and even in most cases some sort of redeeming quality.

Editing - To me this book makes perfect sense.  Some people have a bit of difficulty with some of the language...not Shakespeare level trouble, but enough to turn some people off.  There are several editions that contain footnotes and blurbs that explain some of the more arcane language or turns of phrase.  I find this both helpful and enlightening and find it a smart editorial choice.

Love - This book is chock full of love.  Family love, sister love, friend love, but most prominently love love.  I like this book because it shows us the many ways a person can fall in and out of love.  We have Elinor and Edward who take there time and fall in love with the whole person.  They also suffer because they are both stoic and honorable and are constantly giving each other up for various noble reasons...I'm just glad they finally got together.  Marianne shows us violent young love that does not wait for true knowledge of the other person, but rather falls in love with idea's and circumstances.  Marianne's later acknowledgement and acceptance of the slower, deeper, yet way less passionate love of Colonel Brandon shows a maturity in here way of thinking.  Lucy Steele shows us a more selfish and catty love as she attaches only to improve her station AND to make people (mostly Elinor) feel bad.  Willoughby's flirtations, seductions, abandonment's and finally marrying for money show us the worst of immature love where one only loves to gratify ones own feelings.  By exploring the various kinds of love and their consequences I feel like every teenager regardless of gender/identity should read this book to get an idea of the craziness that is what we call love.

Humor - When one talks about classics or even more specifically Jane Austen one does not necessarily think of humor.  I will probably address this again, as it is one of my favorite things about Austen's style, but let's start here.  Ms. Austen has a very subtle tongue in cheek style that can catch one of guard if you are not paying attention.  There is more then one occasion when I have laughed out loud at a turn of phrase or a well placed pun.  Also certain characters (the elder Ms. Steele and Charlotte Palmer comes to mind) that seemed to be placed in the book for comic relief.  It is this well roundedness that adds a lot to the overall reading experience.

 Ages - This is just a bit of a personal thing for me.  I know that the era that this was written in was vastly different then ours is now...but still.  In this book in particular, the ages of the girls who are looking to be married are very young, like 17 years old young.  In this book Marianne, who is 17 marries the 36 year old Colonel Brandon...who has a 15 year old female ward...who has a baby of her own...so essentially he married a girl who is the same age as his adopted daughter and made her an instant grandmother...kinda ew...and I like Colonel Brandon...but ew...and apparently lots of ellipses...Anyways.  I know there are probably worse things, and that the age difference still happens today and there are many happy couples who have a significant age difference.  I think it's the idea of a 17 year old grandmother that really gets to me...so...yeah.

Overall Impression - This first novel of my beloved Jane Austen does not disappoint.  I love the complicatedness of it, I love the humaness of it, I love the eloquance of it, I don't love the overly convenient plot fixes...but that is minor compared to the awesomeness of this debut novel.  I give it 8 out of 10 painted screens and recommend it to anybody who wants a great story, loves a classic or is looking for a non vomit inducing romance.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bibliophiles Shirts

Hola Readers,  I noticed today that a lot of my clothes have gotten pretty worn out.  That means one thing of course SHOPPING!  Here are a couple of shirts I think would probably fit right into my wardrobe.

A Without Reading
Why would you ever go a day without reading?
Book Dragon
One of my new favorites
Allergic to Stupidity
Truer words were never spoken lol
Bookaholic
My name is Super Bookworm Girl and I'm a bookaholic
To Read or Not to Read
Is that even a question?

A couple of these shirts should greatly enhance my closet and my overall outlook on life.  So off I go to get some shirts, Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tumbling TBR

Oh my goodness you guys!  My TBR pile is getting so big I'm pretty sure it's gonna crush me.
 Seriously though, I probably need to quit getting new books until I finish up at least a few on my list.  It's giving me a bit of anxiety the sheer number of books that are in my house that have never been read...but it's also a little bit exciting!  I'm starting to wonder if I will actually have enough time in this life to finish everything in my house, much less on my list.  On that note I'm off to go find the elixer of eternal reading...or just maybe just go get another book read.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Duty Heart Power

Hola Readers, I've just come off of 60 hours straight so if today's rambling is a wee bit incoherent...well let's blame it on that shall we?  Today I'm gonna ramble about Eona by Alison Goodman.  This is the sequel to the amazing and awesome Eon, which I absolutely loved.  In fact I had to run out buy and read the sequel ignoring my already overwhelming TBR pile.  How did the second book stack up?  Let's find out, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
We catch up with our favorite Dragoneye Eona as she is on the run from Sethon, the usurper Emperor.  She is with the Contraire Dela and her body guard Ryko.  Ryko was brutally injured in the previous book and at the behest of Dela, Eona tries to use her dragon power to heal him.  While in the dragon realm, Eona is attacked by the bereaved dragons of the other 10 slaughtered Dragoneyes. The attacking dragon are held off by unexpected help from Ido, the only other Dragoneye and his Rat Dragon.  Eona manages to heal Ryko, but the dragon battle that ensued, destroyed the village, killing many innocent people.  The other consequence of the healing is that Eona now has a connection to Ryko allowing her to use and control him.  There is a bunch of traveling and sneaking and Ryko being understandably pissed.  The group finally meets up with the young, true Emperor Kygo.  Eona and Kygo share a moment and Eona discovers that she has an insatiable urge to rip the Imperial Pearl from Kygo's throat...which would kill him.  More traveling and the group meets up with various resistance groups and Kygo makes Eona his Naiso, which essentially is the only person allowed to treat the Emperor like a human.  The Naiso is expected to speak hard truths to the Emperor without fear of reprisal.  Kygo is injured and Eona assists the physician in healing him using non-dragon power medicine.  Eona is summoned and in a very disturbing scene is forced to control Ryko to prove that she did not use her healing/control powers on Kygo.  Eona is upset that Kygo did not trust her word and one of the first of many lover vs tool fights takes place.  Eona and Kygo both have a hard time balancing their personal feelings vs their duty to the country.  Meanwhile Eona convinces Kygo that they need to rescue Ido from Sethon as he is the only person who can train her to use her powers. The rescue happens and Eona's training begins.  Since she used her power to heal him, Eona can control Ido, but has to use a more sensual compulsion that leads to some confusing feelings.  The group continues to travel and Eona is reunited with a mother she hasn't seen since she was sold at the age of six.  All through out this, Dela has been working on decoding the red folio that was left 500 years ago by Eona's ancesteor and the last Mirror Dragoneye, Kinra.  Eona knows just from the rage filled swords that Kinra had a huge part in why the Mirror Dragon disappeared. We discover that Kinra was the lover of the Emperor, but really loved the Rat Dragoneye.  We also find out that she was executed as a traitor for trying to rip out the Imperial Pearl from the Emperor's throat.  Eona uses her compulsion of Ido to bring the black folio and the binding power it contains to her.  She gives it Kygo as a huge sign of trust as the folio can use royal blood to bind the Dragoneye's power.  Kygo is greatful and it seems the two lovebirds are starting to figure stuff out. Eventually enough of the folio's are decoded for Eona to finally discover the truth of the dragons.  It seems that the Imperial Pearl is actually the egg of renewal that the dragons need to regenerate.  The original Dragoneyes stole it and bound the dragons with it.  Kinra learned the truth and tried to free them and was executed for her trouble.   Unfortunatly, Eona is taken prisoner by Sethon after they are betrayed by Kygo's trusted general.  Sethon uses his blood to bind Eona, and cause Kygo, Ido, Dela and Ryko to be captured. Sethon removes Kygo's pearl, leaving him to bleed out.  Eona uses the distraction of the pain of sewing the pearl into his throat to break free of Sethon's control.  Ryko gives his life so that Eona can take down Sethon.  Sethon is killed and Kygo is healed by Eona.  She then goes to give the pearl to the dragons so that they can regenerate and be free.  Ido however is not so into giving up the power and tries to get Eona to instead bind the dragons with the black folio for the ultimate power.  She refuses and Ido morally wounds Kygo, making her choose to either free the dragons and lose Kygo, the love of her life or to bind the dragons with him for the ultimate power and save Kygo.  After a moment of angst, she chooses to free the dragons.  Ido is killed and Kygo is looking to be in pretty bad shape.  The dragons go through a pretty cool renewal ritual and the young reborn dragons leave the Empire.  The new Mirror Dragon however seems to retain some memory of Eona and her gift of freedom and heals Kygo before leaving.  Kygo and Eona head home to clean up the pieces of the broken and now dragonless Empire.  Whew that was really long and not even remotely close to everything that happened...but you get the gist.
World Building - This book continued on the world building of the first book.  In this book we leave the city and the palace and move into the poorer outlying areas of the Empire.  We get to learn more customs, beliefs and other tidbits that continue to make this world feel very complete.  I appreciated the level of detailed that was very artfully slipped into almost every encounter, giving us an even more complete picture of the world this book is set in.  I found that although the main theme of the world is an Asian style medieval type world, that the author definitely incorporated some very original and varied pieces to differentiate this world from a carbon copy of any real country.

Story - Compared to the last book, I felt that this story was a little bit slow/cluttered.  I felt like we focused a lot more on Eona and her feelings and angst instead of the story as a whole.  There was a lot of traveling, a lot of introspection and a lot of things that felt repetitive.  I also wanted to get to the story of Kinra a lot sooner, I felt that knowing more would have given the story a bit more direction.  That being said this book did deliver on the previous books premise AND the story actually wrapped up in a very coherent way.  I'm not sure if I am sad or happy about the dragons leaving.  One one hand, it's pretty gutsy to so definitively end the books with the removal of the main conceit of the books...on the other hand no more dragons WAHHHH!  Overall not as compelling as the first story, but still well done.

Character - The development of characters in this book was vastly different then in the first book.  In the last book it was all about finding yourself and being true to yourself.  In this book it seemed to be more about how people responded to different situations.  Unfortunately I found myself liking some of the previous characters less in this book then in the last one.  We did meet a couple new characters that added some depth to the group and for the most part the characters stayed true to the way they were written.  Nobody really did anything out of character just for plot development, and every character had motivation, a story and presence so good job on the characters.

Editing - Editing was well done.  Again as with the last book multiple story lines were abundant, yet meshed together in a wholly readable way.  This book may have been a tad too long, a bit of paring down on some of the introspection and the repetitiveness would have been welcome, but overall very readable, very understandable good job.

Duty, Heart, Power - Along with being the title of this post, I feel like a lot of what was going on in this book was people trying to make choices based on these three things.  Eona especially spent a lot of time in the book trying to walk the line between these three.  She felt a duty to her country, her family and friends and her dragon...but sometimes these various duties did not align and doing her duty to one would make it impossible to do her duty to another.  She was constantly tempted with power, while at the same time being used, or people trying to use her to gain their own power.  Finally she had to try and learn when to listen to her own needs, what her heart wanted and weather or not it was compatible with her duty or her need.  Pretty much any time characters interacted with each other one or more of these three things came into play, and the choices that were made were based on what each character choose to make important.  Ido was constantly seeking power and most of his choices were skewed by this view point.  Dela and Ryko clashed constantly as Dela want to follow her heart, yet Ryko insisted on putting duty first...even if it hurt Dela.  Eona and Kygo were constantly struggling with all three as they both wanted/needed power to accomplish their goals, were in love with each other, but understood that their duty to everything else needed to come first.

Love Triangle - This book brought us the dreaded love triangle.  In some ways the triangle at least made sense.  Eona was the only person that Kygo felt was on his level and the trauma of their experiences together made them a natural pair.  Eona's control of Ido brought her into very intimate contact with him on many levels, coupled with the fact that he represented something very different from Kygo also made sense.  Unfortunately it came off a little juvenile for my taste.  Considering everything that was going on and everything that was at stake, a lot of Eona's angst came from dwelling on all the little stupid stuff.  Her musings about Kygo especially drove me nuts as she would dwell on the tiniest little things...It is actually pretty accurate for how it goes down in real life, but reading about it was kind of obnoxious...especially when there was so much other info I wanted.  It's not that the romance was a bad thing...I just wanted a little less of it.

Kinra - I both loved and hated the Kinra aspect of this book.  We were set up a bit for it in the first book when we learned that Eona's ancestor was the last Mirror Dragoneye, that she imbibed her swords with her anger and then wrote the red folio.  I assumed that she had something to do with the disappearance of the Mirror dragon, but was both pleasantly surprised and a bit eyerolly at how it all came out.  Her discovery of how the dragons came to be enslaved and her decision to try and free them at the cost of her own life was pretty awesome.  The convenience of her being Eona's ancestor and the way she could speak to and through her was a bit to pat for my taste.  Also I think the way things were revealed was frustrating, a bit here, a flash here.  I am still not sure how she influenced Eona even when she wasn't touching her belongings.  I'm also not sure why they didn't find a new Mirror Dragoneye, or how that type of history was forgotten but...yeah.

Overall Impression - I definatly liked the first book better then this one.  However this was still a good book.  It was a fair continuation of the first book, it answered most of the questions posed in the first one and the quality of world and characters remained high.  I have a feeling I would have liked this book even more if I didn't have the near perfection of the first one to compare it too.  I give it 7 out of 10 death plaques and recommend it to everybody who has already read the first book. I am vibing this author and will be picking up some of her other stuff to read. Oh yeah, also not as into the cover of this book as much as the last one, a bit to hip/modern teen looking for my taste. Happy Reading Everybody!


Friday, March 24, 2017

Fountains To Read By

Well folks the weather has finally started to feel spring like and I am stoked!  I get a few extra days off next week and am already planning all the wonderful outdoor places I want to read.  One of my favorite places to read is by fountains.  I love the sound, feel and smell of moving water.  Coupled with the fact that they are usually pretty accessible they make an ideal place to read.  Here are a few I would love to hunt down.
Cincinnati Main Library 
I really really just want to climb to the top and read
Budapest Hungry 
The fountain part mimics a turning page...so cool
Australia
I love the colors on this one
Chattanooga Public Library
Sleek, modern, classic
I will do my best to hunt down some interesting fountains, nooks, crannies and so forth to blog about in my local area.  Until then HAPPY READING EVERYBODY!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Frustrated

All right folks, this is gonna be short and sweet.  I'm pretty frustrated right now 'cause I have gotten very little reading in as of late.  This follows a couple weeks where I was doing pretty well so it makes it all that much more frustrating.  To top it off my insomnia has been kicking in hard core.  Normally my lack of sleep has the side effect of allowing me some extra reading time, this cycle though has not been nice and I have not been able to concentrate enough to get any real reading in.
 I'm assuming this is because of the fact that I have been working at least 10 hour days...and often 24-72 hour days for the last three weeks...sigh.  Oh well, I just have to get through this epic weekend (working from Friday night to Monday morning) and I should be able to refocus and get some quality reading time in.  Until then, Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Immortal In The Pages

I'm in one of those weird moods where everything is just getting to me today.  One of the randomly weird things that popped in my head, was the death of a beloved book character.  I have found that the death, or even the ending of a book/series with a favorite character always gets to me.  Then I
reminded myself that even though a book may end, or a character may die...I can always go back and reread a story where they are alive and well.  For some reason today this did not make it any easier.  I don't know if the knowing that a character is gonna leave me changes the way I go back and read about them, or that I already know the whole story or what.  Anyways...not really sure where I am going with this.  I guess I'm just writing this to remind my self that as long as I keep reading, nothing every has to end and all my literary friends are essentially immortal.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jumping The Pages

It is snowy, cold and blech outside...seems to be the perfect time to curl up with my computer, a cup of coffee and write a rambling.  Today I shall ramble on about a book that caught my eye called The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser.  I was at the bookstore looking for a completely different book, when the cover jumped out at me...and seriously with a cover like this I pretty much had to buy it.  It ended up being a bit hit or miss for me, though it did re inspire the return of my book journal...but before we get to that, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Amy and her young mother Alexis are both in the throes of heartache.  Alexis has been dumped by her married boyfriend and Amy is experiencing the teenage angst of betrayal and embarrassment by a friend via social media.  They flee from their town in Germany to the tiny Scottish isle of Stormsay and their family home called the Lennox House.  They arrive fittingly in a storm and are greeted by the stern matriarch of the family Lady Mairead, Alexis's mother and Amy's grandmother.  They are welcomed on the condition that Amy learn how to become a book jumper.  What the heck is a book jumper?  I'm glad you asked.  You see on this little tiny isle there are two families, the Lennox family and the Macalister family.  These two clans have been responsible for hundreds of years for caring for the storylines of books.  They accomplish this by lying in a circle of standing stones, laying a book over their face then voila! they are in the book.  Amy chooses The Jungle Book as her practice book, but finds that she can easily move between stories, making friends with various characters.  Amy also discovers that she can jump into her e-reader and that she does not need to be in the standing circle to do so.  She is in a class with Betsy and William, the daughter and nephew of the current Laird of the Macalister clan.  Betsy is not a fan of Amy's, feeling she is too old to be properly trained...also she is a Lennox.  Will is cordial.  The three are taught by three guy's who are kind of monk like and are all scarred by burns.  While exploring the various literary worlds, Amy discovers that idea's are being stolen, altering the storylines in all the books in the world (yeah...we will discuss this later).  Nobody believes her, until she and Will discover the body of Sherlock Holmes in the real world.  Apparently Will would pull Sherlock out of the book to talk to him.  He vanished one day and it turns out he was murdered.  Apparently the Sherlocks in the other stories agreed to help out in the dead ones book so all was well.  The three students are taken to a place deep in the library and shown a story that explains a lot.  Apparently the Lennox family used to have a castle, but after a tussel, a fire broke out and destroyed it along with a one of a kind manuscript of a story not written down anywhere else.  The three teachers turn out to be the only characters rescued from the destroyed story and now live on the Stormstay teaching the new jumpers.  Amy discovers her mother making out with Desmond, one of the rescued book guys,  and after a bunch of angst and back and forthness learns that he is her father.  Yep, I guess when you spend most of your life on an island that only houses two families and a less then a dozen other people, you fall in love with the ageless book character...and then have a kid with him.  This helps explain why Amy is such an advanced jumper as in reality she is half fictional...yeah...anyways moving on.  We continue to go back and forth, Will and Amy fall in teenage love, accusations and suspicions fly 'cause nobody actually talks to each other and finally we figure out what is going on.  The old burned manuscript that had only fragments of pages and the three men saved had one more surprise.  Somehow the princess in the story also managed to escape the destruction and has been hibernating on the island.  She is a young, spoiled petulant thing who enchanted Will to be her Knight and jump into the stories to steal ideas.  She is trying to use these ideas to restore her story.  Once we know this we are able to piece together her story...which is not a very nice one. Most of the info finally comes from Desmond, who was the original Knight in the story.  Essentially the princess, when she get's bored, enchants a man to be her Knight, sending him out to slay a monster that is ravaging her kingdom.  The sick part is that the princess has actually turned the Knight into the monster, having him commit heinous acts, then sending him out unknowing to find the monster.  The only way to stop the monster is for the Knight to kill himself...starting the cycle all over again.  Will finds a way to stop the princess, getting himself killed in the process and Amy is able to return the idea's back to their original books.  She takes Will's body into his favorite book, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell is able to bring him back to life as a story character.  Amy spends most of her time in the books, exploring them with Will and that is how the book ends.
World Building - There is a lot of different ways to look at the world building in this book.  The island of Stormsay is fairly well realized, I could probably find my way around it if I needed to, and the atmosphere of it is complete.  The rest of it however is patchy.  I never got a full sense of the family, the history or the mechanics of the book jumping.  I felt I wanted either more information, or better merging of the different pieces of this complicated world.  I unfortunately did not get the feeling of full immersion that is the hallmark of a well built world.

Story - We have the problem of too many stories to accurately judge this category.  Some of these stories are more successful then others.  The best story in my humble opinion was the one of the ruined manuscript.  Through out the book, there are fragments given to us that make it sound like a fairly typical fairy tale, to find out that it is a pretty dark and twisted story is pretty awesome.  I feel like I did with the world building that if we had more information it would have been easier for the reader to see where all the various disparate stories tied together.  For me it was a bunch of flipping back and forth and wondering if I missed something.  In general, each story line was pretty good, they just didn't completely gel to create a whole.

Character - This book had a ton of characters in it.  Some where created just for the book and some were pulled from the literary world.  I was pretty ambivalent about most of the characters, didn't really hate any of them...but didn't really fall in love with any of them either.  For the most part, most of the characters where just there to further the story without a whole lot of personality, history or motivation.  Will, Amy and Alexis where the most formed of the characters, and I liked Will the best of those three.  Amy and Alexis where your fairly typical young mom/teenager duo that seems to be popular lately, didn't hate them, didn't love them.

Editing - So this book was translated from it's native German, which is pretty cool 'cause I love getting view points that are not typically American.  That being said, the flow of the book was not my favorite.  I felt that the there were to many storylines and not enough information.  While this is mostly on the writer, I feel an editor can maybe point out to an author that maybe the reader isn't in the author's head and needs some background, or history, or consistency for the book to work.  It isn't horrible editing, but like the rest of the categories...meh

Book Jumping - Ok, here we have one of my biggest issues with this book, and a particular literary peeve in general.  For me the overall concept of the book jumping left me with a ton of questions and very few answers, in fact it inspired me to get out my book journal again so that I could write down all my questions about book jumping.  Here are just a few thoughts I had.  Who discovered it? Why only these two families?  How diluted can the blood get?  Seriously how do these two tiny families keep track of EVERY book?  What is their purpose again?  If they are the only ones who can jump...aren't they the only ones who can mess up the story? Why are the characters aware of the jumpers?  Umm...about the timelines?  How do you turn the page?  Seriously, other then the mechanism of lying down and putting the book on your face there is not much given to us about the jumping.  I hate it when an author has a concept, especially a potentially good concept and then the execution is poor.  I understand that I will never have all the info or answers I want for things like this, and I don't always need them...I just want a concept to make sense. Since the book jumping was such a huge part of the book, I don't feel like I am wrong in wanting to know how it actually works.

Books About Getting Into Books - I have not yet found a book that has successfully executed a concept where characters from the real world can get into book worlds.  I have read some great ones that deal with elements of books in the real world, or authors or things like that, but anytime I read about a character actually getting into Wonderland, or Neverland, or Pemberly...it just does not work for me.  I think it's cause for me a good book world is complete and personal to the reader.  If you asked me to draw, or describe Pemberly and then you asked my baby sis to do the same thing, I bet you would come up with two equally valid, yet very different pictures.  So when an author tries to put a character into that world it infringes on my view of the world.  As for my own personal self, I'm always torn.  If I had the opportunity would I want to jump into a literary world, or is the bigger appeal the fact that I am completely outside of it?  Ok this is getting very philosophical and may require it's own post.

Fictional Father - After all of my mehness about the book...I have to admit I kind of liked the idea that Amy had a father that was a fictional character. Aside from the zillions of questions it brings forth, it also had the added advantage of me paring up literary characters and wondering what their offspring would be like.  I may have also had some literary fantasy's on which literary crush I would allow to father my fictional kids...

Overall Impression - Overall I feel pretty meh about the whole book.  It seemed to have a ton of stuff in it without really going anywhere.  There were moments of awesome and the concept was pretty cool, but the overall muddledness, lack of info and too many literary pet peeves made this book disappointing.  I feel that it had a lot of potential and if this author exports any other books over the pond, I will probably give her another chance 'cause I feel like she has good ideas.  I give this book 5 out of 10 inkpots and realize that other people enjoyed it more then I did which is also awesome.   Also the book cover is worth it just to have on my book shelf.   Happy Reading Everybody!